our top 10 android board game apps (Updated 2020)
It hasn’t always been easy as an Android board gamer. The stigma that Android users don’t pay for apps really damaged the platform in the early days. Some of the biggest name games got high quality ports on iOS but weren’t ported to Android, many of these still haven’t made the jump (looking at you Agricola, among others). Over time, the majority of developers started releasing apps for both platforms, there are still the occasional exceptions, but for the most part, the big new releases show up on Android.
This won't be simply us ranking the games we've reviewed down the line 1-10 based on scores. We review games based on the fun and app quality, but some apps which are packed full of features and do everything right just might not have the game behind them that keeps us coming back over the long haul. Other times some apps might have minimum features but we can't stop playing them. The other difference between this list and our reviews is that reviews are ultimately handled individually by the reviewer, while this is a fully collaborative list. Not that you care about our methods, the import thing is that we are confident that you will love these high quality Top 10 Android board game apps.
Don’t worry iOS owners, we’ve got you covered too. Our Top 10 iOS Board Game Apps is posted here.
Click the images to purchase the board games through Amazon, the download links to purchase the apps, and/or the star rating to read the full review. We love feedback, so feel free to comment at the bottom of the page with your list, or simply to let us know that we nailed it.
I have come to the conclusion that Race for the Galaxy is the best board game app because it allows you to play a deep strategy game against really tough AI in five minutes. Not to mention having the best online system in the business. Sure, the app lacks some extras that others on this list include, like a campaign mode or achievements, but the more I play this game, the more I appreciate what it offers in the time it takes to play a game. All apps should cut down playtime compared to its physical counterpart, but the extent to which Race is able to do that is astonishing. It’s the best board game app.
No longer number one, but that’s okay. It is the most feature-packed app out there, has a huge, active online player base, a great expansion, and is a wonderful game. In short, this app gets everything right. There is nothing we could think to add. The game is deep and a lot of fun. It sets up well for long async games, especially with the custom digital rules the app introduces to speed up a few potentially slow stages of games, and I’ve kept games going for most of the past 2.5 years since the app was released. It’s the shining example of how to get the “huge, deep, heavy board game port” right.
Star Realms gets just about everything right. The two player deck builder makes for a fantastic multiplayer game, asynchronous or real-time. The app adds a tough AI opponent and an extensive campaign mode which provides dozens of fresh challenges. The app has been around for awhile but they keep releasing new content which adds to the game in fun, meaningful ways.
Revisiting this one lately, it’s just an exceptional app from top to bottom. I tend to be drawn towards less random silliness in games and more deep strategy/tactics, which is probably why I had cast off Galaxy Trucker a bit as a near perfect app but the game wasn’t enough to keep me coming back. Well, I was wrong. I’ve come to appreciate randomness and, especially, silliness in board games recently and Galaxy Trucker has found a new life on my phone as a result. I still think the game will be hit-or-miss, but, honestly, is it actually any more hit-or-miss than a 40 minute card game with ninety-seven different paths to victory? The answer is ‘no.’ The more complete answer is that of course a medium weight tile placement game which involves building space ships and watching them get blown to bits is more universally appealing than almost anything else on this list! So there it is, Galaxy Trucker remains an amazing app, and the game is a ton of fun too.
The app, much like the physical game, is a bit bland. Everything works, its entirely functional, but nothing jumps off the screen at you. None of that matters when you have one of (the?) best games ever. Simple to learn, difficult to master. It is where every game would fall if I had my way, and Castles might be the pinnacle of that mantra. There are only four actions you can take on a turn and they are dictated by the roll of two dice. It takes just a few minutes to run through all of the tutorials. Then you start playing and, for me anyway, slowly start to take in the scope of the game and the possibilities. At its core, the game comes down to finding the best way to use those pesky dice rolls each turn, but there are so many different paths to take to points, it’s impossible not to feel excitement on each new game trying to decide how you are going to build the finest estate in all of Burgundy. Any game that can elicit that same feeling each time after dozens of plays is an all-timer in my book.
We’re going to permanently hold a spot on these lists for the last game Handelabra released. One Deck Dungeon was a really fun, relatively simple dungeon crawler with a lot of goodness. Aeon’s End is a heavier, deeper game that stands as one of the best solo experiences in digital board games. It offers some really fun twists on deck building and presents really difficult challenges to overcome. We can’t wait to write about Spirit Island in our 2021 update!
Burgle Bros. provides a fantastic solo experience. The co-op heist game is a ton of fun and the app adds a lot of variety in play modes which scale the difficulty quite well from novice to expert, ensuring players of all skill levels will find something to enjoy. The satisfaction of pulling off a heist is one of the best moments offered in the board game app world.
Acram Digital makes really good, true to the cardboard, ports. They are three for three in their efforts. Their standout, in our book, is Steam: Rails to Riches. Steam is a route building, delivery game with incredible strategic depth. The variety of different actions to can (and need) to taken, along with a money lending system, turn order bidding, and more added by the Standard mode, add up to one of the deepest games to get a digital port. Deep and heavy alone doesn’t make a game worth playing, but in Steam the payoff is worth the effort it takes to learn.
I prefer this to the original simply because of the mechanic that allows you to return dice to the pool. It is a true game-changer in the Clever world. For the uninitiated, Clever (and this sequel) have you rolling some dice, using one to mark off a spot on your scoring board and repeating. The board contains a slew of effects that trigger at certain points which allow you to cross off more stuff and trigger more effects and so on, it’s a fantastic chain reaction system that is extremely satisfying when you pull if off well. But mostly, it’s frustrating that you didn’t beat your own high score so you mash the “start game” button to try again. It keeps us coming back again and again, and that’s the most important thing.
If there was ever a case of a development team willing their app’s way to greatness, this is it. Evolution as a game is good, not great, not bad, but good in my opinion. And that’s just fine. It isn’t one that I, personally, was jumping out of my seat to see hit the digital world, but that’s on me, not anybody else. When the beta was released to Kickstarter backers, it was very good, not great. However, the team has constantly pushed this app forward from those early beta days well past release date. They have addressed just about every complaint that players handed them (async play is coming!) and the result is simply one of the most impressive board game apps in existence. It is full of play modes, unlockables, challenges, etc… It really can’t be overstated the work that has gone into this app. Bravo, North Star Digital, you have turned us into big fans and have us continuing to play a game we probably would have uninstalled a while ago if not for your fantastic work.